Book recommendations please?

Our fancy modern new Interweb should make the question, “Where can I find more books like this?” super easy to answer. But it’s not, because I often like books for different reasons than the majority of the books’ other fans.

But I bet you have good recommendations, fair reader! Here’s what I’m looking for:

Like Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” in terms of intricate moral thinking and personality studies with an amusing veneer. Answering “How should I live my life?” but talking about the fine details instead of Bernstein Bears basics.

Like Anne McCaffrey’s “Crystal Singer” in that it’s about an independent ambitious woman making her way in the world regardless of social pressure to take the safe route – and succeeding. Childish escapism optional but probably necessary.

Like Vernor Vinge’s “Zones of Thought” books in exploring the mind and identity based on the physical implementation thereof (rather than abstract philosophy – and no @#@#$ing uploads to Turing machines BAH GO AWAY BORING).

Like David Sedaris for word choice. I love his story about studying the thesaurus for s-free alternatives to words to escape speech therapy for his lisp – it explains so much.

Like Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation” for, well, probably the same reasons as everyone else: expressing passionate devotion to history and politics while being incredibly funny.

So, any suggestions? Or anything else you’d just like to recommend anyway? Also feel free to discuss these authors or otherwise conduct literary criticism – I’m on vacation and have time to indulge. :) Thanks in advance!

5 thoughts on “Book recommendations please?

  1. Constellation Games for Austenian morals crossed with Vingean exploration of mind and identity. Fair Play by Tove Janssen for independent women making their way in the world and exquisite word choice.

  2. Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart “trilogy” hits the “Crystal Singer” notes – it’s written for a young adult reader but works for me. It has history and politics too.

    Try Ursula K Le Guin if you haven’t already: “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” has a couple of shorts which are prequels or which prefigure some of her longer work. She’s Anthropology to Vinge’s Computer Science.

    Try Susanna Clarke’s brilliant “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” for an Austen-like Magical Britain. Again, history, or alternate history.

    Jo Walton’s “Among Others” is very good, female (bookish) protagonist, very many naming of other SF works.

    Try Eliot’s “Middlemarch” for “themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism and self-interest, religion and hypocrisy, political reform, and education” (wikipedia, of course) – I haven’t read Eliot but she’s a favourite for many, and my SO has.

    Some of C J Cherry would be good for large-scale intelligent space adventures. I can’t say which: “Cyteen” is politics plus young woman, “Rimrunners” series is more of an adventure as I recall.

    Bank’s “Excession” has some similarities to Vinge, but he often indulges sadism – can’t remember if he does so in that particular book.

    I’m interested to see what others you get – that’s a good way to say what you’re looking for.

  3. “about an independent ambitious woman making her way in the world regardless of social pressure to take the safe route – and succeeding. Childish escapism optional but probably necessary.”

    I assume you’ve already read Jane Eyre, then?

    1. Hahaha, totally. I love all the “mean rich dude actually has a heart of gold” genre of that era (while not believing that such folks exist). I prefer Anne Brontë for sure – “Villette” is amazing even if depressing and featuring a mean rich dude.

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